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I've a developer. I've always felt very negatively towards the concept of agile, especially during product development before a launch. I've worked in a number of agile teams and I've never really seen the benefit. I know that I can't avoid agile development and was thinking that the only way to truly understand the benefits is to become a certified Scrum Master. Is this a good idea?

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    Why dont you like Agile? What do you even think Agile is? – Dave Hillier Dec 17 '13 at 20:12
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    Agile is a magical fairy that delivers all projects under budget, under cost and over quality, while making all the workers ecstactically happy. Just ask my management. – Mark C. Wallace Dec 20 '13 at 13:05
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    If you are a developer and want to learn more about scrum, the Certified Scrum Developer is probably a better choice (even if longer and more expensive). – jhyot Nov 11 '16 at 22:31
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TL;DR

[I think] the only way to truly understand the benefits [of agile] is to become a certified Scrum Master. Is this a good idea?

No. Agile practices encompass a spectrum of practices and frameworks well beyond Scrum, so a Scrum Master certification won't necessarily impart agility in a broader sense. In addition, doing more of something you dislike is not setting yourself up for success.

Instead, you should look for roles in organizations or job sectors that use a framework more to your taste. You can even make desirable project management methodologies part of your job search or interviewing criteria.

How is Scrum Mastering Like Teaching?

If you hate math, should you become a math teacher? Probably not. You won't enjoy your time spent learning the subject. Even if you eventually master the material, you'll probably have a hard time inspiring anyone else to learn about a subject that you intrinsically dislike.

In some ways, being a Scrum Master is quite similar to being a teacher. You are not only the shepherd of the Scrum framework for the organization, but you are also often called upon to:

  • educate teams in the methodology,
  • dispense Solomon-like wisdom based on your experience with the framework, and
  • be an evangelist for the framework and its practices.

Those things are hard to do if you actively dislike the very framework you're responsible for promoting. That will not set you (or your team) up for success with Scrum or any other agile framework.

Instinctual Drift and ScrumBut

In addition, if you lack passion for the framework or disagree with its underlying principles, you are going to struggle with finding solutions to process problems that don't violate core principles. Instinctual drift will lead you into grafting non-agile patterns onto your process, leading to a perniciously-persistent ScrumBut environment that will (over time) look more and more like whatever framework you do feel comfortable with.

Recommendations

Learn More About Agile Frameworks

If you want to learn more about agile frameworks, by all means take a class or workshop to learn more about them. Take your pick from any agile topic that interests you, including:

  1. Scrum
  2. Kanban
  3. Lean
  4. Extreme Programming
  5. Cynefin

Find Roles Based on Your Preferred Framework

Despite what you may believe, non-agile frameworks are still quite prevalent in the field of project management. Whether as a developer or a project manager, you can certainly search out roles that use more traditional frameworks.

In fact, if you go that route I would encourage you to ask employers about their project management methodology during interviews. Find out if they do big up-front design, or ask whether they use detailed specifications instead of user stories.

Whatever it is you dislike about agile methodologies, figure out what your preferred approach is and seek out positions that value that approach. For example:

  • Hate pair programming or cross-functional teams? Find individual-contributor roles.
  • Hate user stories? Find roles that are based on up-front specifications.
  • Hate incremental planning or iterative development? Find organizations that use waterfall development or traditional project scheduling approaches.

Whatever it is you want, it's out there somewhere. Unless you're a serf, vote with your feet and work within an industry or organization that uses project management practices more to your liking.

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Becoming a certified Scrum Master helps you understand Scrum more , but it will not make you to believe it.

Benefits from agile process is a believe rather than a scientific proof to me, as no control experiment for agile process has been conduct (or could be conduct).

Also, there is some organisation working with ScrumBut as CodeGnome stated, which makes Scrum harder to be evaluated.

However, you should enjoy using completed component from you co-work if their component is comply with a good definition of done. Task in agile process could be easier to comply with definition of done as tasks can be broken into small pieces. So scrum show you the way in developing better quality product, but you can always achieve a better quality without it / using other methodology.

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    "Benefits from agile process is a believe rather than a scientific proof to me" is incorrect. Numerous Agile practices have been proven to be beneficial. There is no "Agile" process, rather a collection of processes that meet the values of the Agile manifesto - are you talking about Scrum? – Dave Hillier Dec 17 '13 at 20:10
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No. Becoming a CSM seems like a pretty expensive and time consuming way of trying to convince yourself that you like something that you clearly don't. CodeGnome is right that there are plenty of roles out there for PMs, Devs and others who would prefer to work in a non-agile environment. And there's nothing wrong with that.

That said, it took me a while to see the benefit of agile from a PM perspective so there is still hope!

If you're looking for evidence that Agile actually works you could read through this paper - Empirical Findings in Agile Methods - or this paper - New Directions on Agile Methods: A Comparative Analysis. Both of these acknowledge the wider issue that has been touched on by other contributors here - how you define agile really matters.

There's a huge difference between, say, XP (which is actually quite strict in its structure) and Kanban (which defines almost nothing). I've worked places that claimed agility without really understanding or implementing it (it was just a management buzzword) and in other places that were agile almost without knowing it.

Ultimately, I'd suggest not worrying about it too much. Learn about it if you need to be convinced. But the best way of learning is usually doing and if you've done it and you're not convinced then move on. Nobody's going to want a Scrum Master who doesn't like Scrum!

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I'd say if you don't like something, you'll have unconscious obstacles when you try to master it in a hard way. Just imagine how a college student who doesn't like Chemistry but majored in Chemistry is going to spend his 4 years life. You'll get that when you're in the environment. I did. It's tough and painful. Every time you want to do something interesting, you'll be forced to do another thing boring because you don't like it, and time wasting because you don't understand it which takes more time for you to accomplish something.

Interest is the initial drive.

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Agile is for complicated and complex projects

It is possible that the projects you worked on in the past met the following two conditions:

  • The requirements are well agreed upon.
  • The technology used to build the product was close to certainty.

If this was the case, it is understandable that you didn't need agile. Perhaps this is why you didn't like it. You can read more about what kind of projects could benefit from Agile here.

My suggestion is that you spend some time trying to understand what you didn't like about agile. May be you can expand on your question above articulating what you didn't like about agile. If your dislike is because of lack of understanding, then you can spend some time digging into it. If you understand it and still don't like it, then I agree with @CodeGnome that "you should look for roles in organizations or job sectors that use a framework more to your taste".

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I'm a pretty firm believer in the Agile approach but as with everything else, it is the quality of your historic experience with anything that determines your opinion of it. Agile is deceptively easy to assimilate but very hard to really apply and can easily turn frustrating without the right support.

Today, Agile principles are not just relevant to software development - they hold value across organization functions - anywhere where change is a constant. I am part of a very successful website scrum team in which we are following the Scrum approach to show incremental but very real progress week on week. It keeps the momentum high when you get something done.. something your customers ( and sales team) can experience just a few weeks after conceptualizing it. Something that reflects in your Analytics report as a clear win or loss

May I suggest that you try a coach or training organization with some real world consulting experience who can really show you how the best in industry are doing and winning with Agile.

Amazon, Google, Spotify, Skype, Facebook, Paypal... These are just some examples of companies winning with Agile. I would strongly suggest that you give it another try.

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Generally, people don't like what they don't understand. I think your dislike of agile is not spiteful but simply out of mistrust, which means you haven't seen it work well and therefore it would not make sense for you to place trust in it.

I would say, be a scrum master if you want, but first I would challenge you to work hard to understand agile. The key is, once you truly understand it and let the ideas mull over in your mind, you may find that you no longer dislike it. Such was the case with me. I had a resistance to it until I fully understood what it was about and what it stood for. If you think of it in terms of sprints, stand ups, and retrospective meetings, that stuff isn't what agile is about. Those are the means to the end. I imagine there are agile methodologies that don't use any of those things.

The deeper concepts (the "why") don't usually come across well when first implemented. On the surface it may seem like agile is about the processes and tools that one company or another is using to facilitate their own version of agile, and these often clash with more traditional methods such as waterfall. This is especially true of people that have been doing waterfall a long time, and can be made worse if your scrum master isn't as good at teaching the why of agile. Processes and tools are known as doing agile.

Being agile is about thinking differently. The way we think is a huge part of who we are and it takes a long time to change that, not to mention you have to be willing to change in the first place.

So give it time, learn more about it, and eventually you may come to like agile. At that point, I see no reason you couldn't become a great scrum master.

Another related example: I used to despise public speaking because I found it uncomfortable and was not good at it. After having to confront my dislike and learn more about public speaking, I got better at it. Now I enjoy it because I'm no longer horrible at it. At this point, it might make sense for me to take on a role that involves a lot of public speaking. But back when I still disliked it? I don't think becoming a toastmaster would have been a good idea then.

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